Students are suing Apple for deciding not to ship a wall charger with the iPhone 12

nanoguy

Posts: 1,019   +14
Staff member
In brief: Apple is being sued in China over its decision to stop bundling a wall charger with every iPhone sold, which is seen as a move that's primarily motivated by profit. While the lawsuit doesn't resemble the high stakes litigation that usually makes the press, it has garnered extensive public support because many consumers aren't happy when they buy an arguably expensive product only to find they also need to buy a wall charger to use it.

Apple is already embroiled in a number of legal fights, but there’s always room for one more, especially when it revolves around its flagship product — the iPhone. According to a report from Vice, a group of students from several Chinese universities are suing the Cupertino company for its change of policy when it comes to including a charger in the box.

Starting with the iPhone 12, Apple no longer bundles a charger in the box with its iPhones, and the same is true for the EarPods that used to be included as well. What you get instead is a USB-C to Lightning cable, presumably to reduce waste and carbon emissions. Many people own enough chargers already, but that hasn’t stopped some from falling under the perception that Apple is doing penny-pinching to improve its profit margins on 5G-enabled iPhones, which are more expensive to make.

It didn’t take long before Apple realized that it had ignored consumers who are buying their first smartphone or simply don’t have compatible chargers lying around at home. To make up for the lack of a charger and EarPods in the box, the company chose to reduce their price as a gesture of goodwill. However, the Chinese students that are suing Apple argue the company is simply using its efforts to save the environment as a pretext to squeeze more profit by selling accessories that are needed to keep the device functioning.

The students took Apple to the Beijing Internet Court, where they allege they weren’t able to charge their iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max units as advertised on the company’s website, and that the included cable isn’t compatible with most third-party chargers on the market, which still come with a USB-A port. In its defense, Apple said that selling the device and charger separately is a common practice for phone makers, possibly referring to Samsung and Xiaomi.

Interestingly, this legal fight looks more like an effort to prove a point that consumers aren’t happy when they aren’t given a choice, especially with such an expensive device like the iPhone. The students are only demanding to be provided with a wall charger, 100 yuan (around $15.5) for breach of contract, as well as for Apple to cover the legal fees.

The case has seen extensive public support on Chinese social media platforms like Weibo, and some speculate it could lead to more regulatory scrutiny in the region. It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Apple has faced legal issues for this particular issue.

Back in March, Brazil fined the Cupertino giant $2 million for choosing not to ship chargers with the iPhone 12. If a decision will be made in favor of the Chinese students suing Apple, it will also extend to the iPhone 13 and all subsequent models.

In related news, a San Francisco man has filed a lawsuit against Apple for refusing to repair his iPhone 12 while it was still under warranty.

Permalink to story.

 

umbala

Posts: 456   +744
Personally, I've never needed one for the past few years. I connect to my computer anyway
because I prefer slow charging. Plus, considering how fast people "upgrade" they should have
a drawer full of these bricks.
I think the issue isn't so much that they stopped shipping the chargers, but the fact they charge the exact same price for the phone while you get less and Apple makes even MORE profit. It's true that most people already have enough chargers or other means of connecting their phones, but not everyone does. So, first you pay the same price for the phone and get less ($15 less in this case) and if you happen to need that chargers then you have to spend another $15 on it. In essence you have to pay $30 extra to get what you could get previously for the price of the phone alone.
 

umbala

Posts: 456   +744
Apple is an awesome company. First they removed the headphone jack, then they removed the charger, makes you wonder what will be next. Oh and you also can't upgrade internal storage at all, because THAT would cut into Apple's profits. The only way to expand storage is to buy a new, more expensive phone! But hey, keep supporting this awesome company, because of that old saying; less is more!
 

antiproduct

Posts: 205   +242
If only their craptastic cables would last more than 2 years before the rubber crumbles and it needs to be replaced, then maybe this would be passable. In addition to the limited life of their cables, if I were switching platforms or were buying a iPhone for the first time, I'd want a damn cable to charge my phone to come with it.

Two things apple could have done if they *really* cared about the environment:
1. Stop making craptastic cables that crumble after a couple years.
2. Give an optional free cable to anyone who buys a new device and requests the cable. Maybe include a coupon for it or something. That way those who don't need the extra cable can "save the environment" and it won't just be apple sh!tting on their customers because they want more profit.
 

antiproduct

Posts: 205   +242
Apple is an awesome company. First they removed the headphone jack, then they removed the charger, makes you wonder what will be next. Oh and you also can't upgrade internal storage at all, because THAT would cut into Apple's profits. The only way to expand storage is to buy a new, more expensive phone! But hey, keep supporting this awesome company, because of that old saying; less is more!

Next they'll remove people who sarcastically question their motives. :)

Seriously though, they're not the only company to remove the headphone jack and the inability to add additional storage, so I think you can point fingers at several other device makers.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,646   +6,438
Apple dropped those chargers to, "eliminate harm to the environment". What are these overindulged snotbags whimpering about?

Think about all the good you doing for mother mature, with a dead phone..
 

brucek

Posts: 940   +1,360
I think the decision was mostly about profit, I think it will incidentally modestly reduce waste, and I think neither makes it a crime for Apple to not include a charger while being clear they're not including a charger.

 

m4a4

Posts: 2,610   +3,201
TechSpot Elite
Is there actually advertising by Apple that suggests that it comes with everything it needs to charge? Or are they just hoping they can win against Apple because of "consumers’ interests"?

I don't see how any phone company is legally required to include charging cable and brick, if it's not advertised ("batteries sold separately" anyone?). That said, it certainly is in the company's best interest to appease their customers...
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,646   +6,438
I think the decision was mostly about profit, I think it will incidentally modestly reduce waste, and I think neither makes it a crime for Apple to not include a charger while being clear they're not including a charger.
No, you have to go back to the Apple ads from a couple of years ago, and they said they were not going to include chargers, due to "ecological concerns". And some other crap about you should have one from your last phone, so they were't include one this time.

Maybe they did get a power brick, but "they were holding it wrong".
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,646   +6,438
I don't see how any phone company is legally required to include charging cable and brick, if it's not advertised ("batteries sold separately" anyone?). That said, it certainly is in the company's best interest to appease their customers...
Most equipment sales pages online, include a "what's in the box", paragraph, at the bottom of the page, as do manufacturers.

And TBH, I've never gotten a remote control with a device that didn't come with a set of batteries. I full well realize that a cellphone is not a remote, but still, most manufacturers ship with everything that's needed.

As an example, I just bought a 19.00 3-way HDMI switched with/remote. Not only did it have a battery for the remote, but a power brick as well.

This is all Apple bullsh!t, and we did have an article here a Techspot some time ago.

"Apple has removed the charger and headphones from the box of all iPhones on sale since the launch of the iPhone 12. This is due to part of its efforts to reduce impact and promote environmental stewardship.Dec 5, 2020"

How about some links for good measure?





And this article claims they have been forced to put them back in, dated April 29, 2021

 
Last edited:

Jpe1701

Posts: 80   +77
I don't know what everyone is crying about. They are just hoping if you were crazy enough to pay the ridiculous price for one of their phones that you will just get a new phone when the battery dies. No problem.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,646   +6,438
I don't know what everyone is crying about. They are just hoping if you were crazy enough to pay the ridiculous price for one of their phones that you will just get a new phone when the battery dies. No problem.
Yeah right. I suppose these smart a** college kidz can just tack another iPhone on their student loans every coup;le of days.
 

Edster

Posts: 103   +78
The student ain't wrong when they say is all about profit. But, does Apple ever imply that everything you need is in the box? Are we going to sue pasta companies for not including the water next?There is within reason

You know, ironically, it would had been so much better for Apple if they automatically bundle it to the phone when you add to cart, or let you choose between 3 options; no charger, mag safe, wall charger like they do with the size and colour, and price it accordingly.

They would actually likely to sell more products that way from people "buying it just in case" versus right now where people will only search and add it to cart if they needed it. More sales, but can still claim they are for the environment.
 

waclark

Posts: 132   +75
snip
and Apple makes even MORE profit.
snip
Do you know that to be a fact? Can they make the 12/13 iPhones at the same price as previous models? Somehow, I suspect, there are increased cost for things like screens, different port types, SW development and other things that could make the profit of any given model higher or lower than previous models.
 

ChrisH1

Posts: 174   +76
If I was Apple, I think I'd have a policy that if someone bought a new phone and did want a charger, at the time of purchase we'd throw one in the bag. If you said no at the time of purchase and wanted one, come in with your receipt and we'll stamp it as 'charger provided' and give you one.

If you buy the phone from a 3rd party, it would be up to them to do the same or not.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,049   +3,913
TechSpot Elite
Next they'll remove people who sarcastically question their motives. :)

Seriously though, they're not the only company to remove the headphone jack and the inability to add additional storage, so I think you can point fingers at several other device makers.
Maybe, but they're trendsetters. I don't get why people accept half of the things Apple does, but I guess they either don't know or don't understand what is happening. This is how we get the "if it works for Apple then we should do it too" issue.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,849   +1,911
One-sided comments.
Fine I'll do it...

If you want to reduce waste you gotta make sacrifices. Even if it is profit driven, it's still reducing waste. You're getting ripped off whether you get the jack included or not.

Pay the $15.
 

Yenega

Posts: 302   +202
Personally, I've never needed one for the past few years. I connect to my computer anyway
because I prefer slow charging. Plus, considering how fast people "upgrade" they should have
a drawer full of these bricks.

Yeah, the so-called students are just trying to win the lottery like most people and companies that sue apple.

Who needs a charger when you have 100 cables from older phones + wireless charging anyway.

NO PHONE should come with a wall-charger in the box. If you need one, you buy one. This would make sense these days.

The usb cable is still included, so people needs to stfu.
 

Cubi Dorf

Posts: 372   +244
If Apple really care about environment, they would not selling wireless charge to these countries that get electrics from coal. This motivation is profit, but I don't see problem with that as long as they are clear to customer before purchase that it is not coming with charger.